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The above Tweet from GunStoreChris caught the eye of TTAG commentator Ruff Ridr, especially when he saw the accompanying photo. Make the jump for an up-close-and-personal look at what happens to a hand when it gets in the way of a negligent discharge. Warning: it’s gruesome.

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  1. Took a basic gun course with the inimitable Bob McDowell at his place in McKean, PA. One of the first things he showed us were grisly photos of gunshot wound effects to drive home how seriously we need to take firearm handling, and guns in general.
    The worst photo was of an unfortunate soldier in Iraq who chose to use a live .50BMG round as an improvised hammer. It promptly blew up, turning the tool-using hand into something completely unrecognizable.

    • I saw that photo as well. I have a friend who is a weapons officer on a Navy ship, and he got that photo through official channels. Apparently, the photo is real. I find it hard to beleive that someone could have been so stupid, but I guess if you have no experience with guns it might not be so obvious how a primer works.

  2. All my life I’ve heard about guns “accidentally” going off when someone was “cleaning” it. How the F*#$ do you start cleaning a gun and NOT clear it first? I’ve always suspected that a “gun cleaning accident” involving someone’s death was a covered-up murder. [hick voice] “Durrrr – Officer, I was jes’ sittin’ here cleanin’ mah gun, and it went off! I had no idee it were loaded!” Sure, and I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

    • I have always believed the gun-cleaning accident was a cover for suicide.

      Not trying to hurt a family’s memory is probably the misplaced sentiment. But cleaning a loaded gun that kills you….. you had to have a loaded gun, release the safety, and pull the trigger while the gun was pointed at a vital organ.

      And as others have mentioned, the photo is real. When units arrive in theatre, there is a huge photo safety briefing. That photo and the explanation is one of many.

      • So, you figure some of the so-called accidents are not accidents at all. That’s probably true. For me all it would mean about you guys is moving a few numbers around in the Famous 10%. The “stupid” category might lose a few to the “hidden criminal” category.

      • I completely get that the photo is real. It looks to me more like negligence than anything. What I’m saying is that when the report is that someone other than the person “cleaning the gun” is killed, *I* think it’s more likely a covered-up murder. Where the gun cleaning person gets hurt or killed, it could be either negligence to clear the weapon first, or an attempt at suicide. Many times the family wants to cover up an attempted or completed suicide due to the stigma involved.

      • Don’t you guys realize how easily it could occur?

        Let me spell out a scenario I read a long time ago on glocktalk.

        1. Acquire gun that needs cleaning.
        2. Doorbell rings, cat knocks shit over something like this…
        3. You return and forget you haven’t cleared it yet but you pull the trigger to initiate the takedown process of glock.
        4. Hole in hand.

        It’s REAL easy for this to happen. If you don’t think so, you shouldn’t be handling firearms/you should change your arrogant opinion.

        • While you may say it can occur easily, I disagree. Always check the chamber if the gun leaves your hands and never point it at anything you aren’t willing to shoot and it won’t happen. Simple.

  3. I lost an uncle in WWII because of another American soldier cleaning his .45 while his company was billeted somewhere in Holland. The gun discharged, the round passed through a wall striking my uncle in the side of his head. We think he died a few days later on a hospital ship off the coast of England. Four years following the war’s end, his mother and father received his remains so they could inter him on a mountaintop near their home in NC. Sixty years following the shooting, I had the pleasure of meeting the soldier who was standing directly behind my uncle when he was shot and fell to floor.

  4. Just another symptom of the “It’s not my fault!” society which we have become. No one has the nut sack any more to just ‘fess up when they screw up. So it’s always because of “something”.

    It went of accidentally!. Translation: I inadvertently pulled the trigger while I was fucking around with a loaded gun. It wasn’t loaded!. Translation: I forgot to pull the slide back to check the chamber when I popped out the mag.

    On and on.

  5. Ouch! A gun shop owner I know recently blew a finger off. He related to me “It’s never loaded, I should have been okay.” Turns out he mistook a live round for a snap cap (wtf?). A modicum of common sense can prevent these accidents.

    • Just from that description alone I know who it was….An infamous TN resident per chance? The guy is an idiot.

  6. Count me as another who calls “BS” on guns firing while being cleaned. It’s physically impossible to CLEAN a gun (which is primarily done by cleaning the bore / barrel). How can you clean a tube that is physically BLOCKED??? You can’t. So, maybe you were GOING to “clean” your gun. But, BEFORE that, you were MIShandling your gun and you PULLED THE TRIGGER of a loaded gun.

    I think telling folks you were “cleaning” the gun is a way to explain stupidity in a way that stupid people accept as “normal” behavior for gun owners. Yep… that makes perfect sense.

  7. “How can you clean a tube that is physically BLOCKED??? You can’t.”

    It’s only blocked at one end. The terminally ignorant don’t know it’s blocked until they clean it from the muzzle end and it goes ka-boom. You can also stick a cleaning rod a long way into a rifle barrel before you meet resistance, and for the terminally ignorant it might seem like they’ve contacted the bolt and not the cartridge.

    We’ll never know, but it seems to me that the majority of reported NDs during cleaning are in fact NDs during cleaning. Never underestimate the ability of the terminally ignorant to f^ck up.

    • Silly me… I’ve never heard of cleaning a barrel from the muzzle end. I thought everyone cleaned from breach to muzzle. 🙂

      Nevertheless, a round doesn’t go ka-boom from being struck on the bullet end by a cleaning rod. So, in your scenario, the schmuck has to be shoving a rod down the muzzle while simultaneously pulling the trigger. For a rifle, you’d have to have quite the “wing-span” to perform that trick.

        • I have not figured out a good way to clean my 10/22 from the breach end either. I’ve tried bore snakes and Otis kits, but I always end up carefully using a dewey rod / jag from the muzzle.

        • It’s the only way I’ve cleaned my (son’s) 10/22… from breach to muzzle. Use Otis flexible cable system. But, still… it would be a feat of dexterity to use a rod from the muzzle end while simultaneously pulling the trigger.

      • Use a Boresnake to clean from chamber to muzzle instead of the other way around. And if you’d like to learn to shoot and clean at the same time, I’d gladly send you instructions. 🙂 It involves pressing that curved thingy at the bottom of the gun. You can do this by bumping it or catching it on something, like a holster, case or oil bottle.

  8. Yeah the only way for a gun to go off by “itself” is if there is something mechanically wrong with it, in which case you probably shouldn’t be fiddling with it unless you’re a gun smith and you damn sure shouldn’t be loading it. Even if you did have a broken self shooting gun you definitely shouldn’t be pointing the muzzle at anything you don’t want to destroy.

  9. OK folks, here’s the scoop on “gun cleaning accidental deaths”. They don’t exist in the real world. The problem is that your personal life insurance, or that provided by your employer as mine is, almost always have a clause that they will not pay off if the death is the result of suicide. It’s just as simple as that.


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